A huge thank you to everyone who has shared this page. It has received hundreds of views from 65 (!!) different countries. And the cherry on top was last week's post being featured in Femstreet's newsletter. Thank you!
This week, I'm offering some practical advice on how to create an effective resume and set yourself apart from the competition.
It starts with one thing – measurable achievements.
Measurable achievements & why you should care
You don't have to be the most experienced candidate to land a job. But you have to be the most competitive and understand how to tell your story.
Imagine your application for a Customer Support Manager role is being reviewed. Which of the following statements would give you a better chance at an interview?
- Managed a team of 10 support agents.
- Recruited, onboarded and managed 10 support agents to exceed performance targets by 25%.
The first sentence definitely has its merits. It implies you can manage, but doesn't paint the picture in relation to other skills you may have. The second statement tells the hiring manager that you can also build a team from the ground up and motivate them to exceed performance goals. This starts to tell the story of who you are as a leader.
Easier said than done, though.
Challenge. Action. Result.
Let's look at this example one more time. Can you find a challenge, an action, and a result implied by the statement?
Recruited, onboarded, and managed 10 support agents to exceed performance targets by 25%.
Think about the context here. In this example, it is implied that additional support agents were needed.
Think about the steps you took to find a solution. This challenge required you to wear multiple hats (recruiter, trainer).
Think about the value you created. In this case, you were responsible for managing a high performing team that you helped recruit.
While the Action and Result parts may be the most useful when building a resume, you'll always want to always connect them to a Challenge. It'll be especially handy when you're interviewing so you can set the context for your experience.
There's many different techniques you can use. I wrote succinctly about the CAR method but there's a ton of literature available online. This one is a good read and explains the method well.
How to approach this task
Writing about your professional experience can be difficult if you're not sure where to start. Start by asking yourself some questions:
- Have I improved or designed a new process or workflow? If so, is there any data I can use to quantify the value I generated?
- Were my actions impactful to the company's revenue? If so, are there any metrics I can share?
- Have I shortened the time required to complete a project or initiative? If so, by how long and how did that impact the team/company?
- Have I exceeded goals set by my manager? If so, what were those goals and by how much did I exceeded them?
But what if you don't have any work experience or you are having trouble generating quantifiable data? You can always look at:
- Previous volunteer experiences
- Courses or certificates that are related to the job's requirements
- Any projects you were involved with
Measurable achievements can set you apart from the competition. However, not every contribution is measurable and that's okay too. The goal is to make each accomplishment feel relevant to the story you are telling.
My advice is to still ask yourself the questions above, but instead of focusing on the data (result), focus on the steps you took (actions). You may find examples of these accomplishments in past performance reviews or recommendation letters written by previous managers.
Bringing it all together...
Quantifying achievements can be very powerful on any resume. Numbers typically build credibility and stand out to recruiters.
To create impactful statements, be specific and lead with results. Avoid fluff as much as you can and try to keep your resume up to 2 pages, with plenty of white space to make it more readable.
And most importantly... practice, practice, practice!
🚀 Awesome companies hiring right now
- Aula Education is looking for a Talent Lead (first talent hire)
- AppCues is hiring a VP of Customer Experience
- Help Scout just announced a Senior People Ops Business Partner role
- Loom is looking for a Director of Customer Experience (👋 say hi for info)
I'm also happy to provide a list of 100 companies that raised a Series A or B in the last 6 months and that may be hiring (👉click on the image below to access the spreadsheet).
👋 If you're interested in receiving an occasional email with this type of content, drop your email in the subscribe box below. I won't ever spam you.